New 2016 BMW i8 Supercar More Power review, BMW i8 review: A green compromise? BMW's top-shelf EV has supercar looks, hybrid powertrain, supercar price
2016 BMW i8 Supercar , When I look at the engine and electric motor of the BMW i8, my first thought is, “this shouldn’t be fun to drive,” but it is. I guess when you break down the full spec sheet: 357 total hp, 420 total lb-ft of torque, 3,455 pounds, it makes sense. It looks fast, that’s for sure, but weird too. I talked to several people about it, most of whom were interested in what it actually is. Some confuse it for a supercar, which maybe it is by some definitions. It does have a near-supercar price.
It’s as stiff as a supercar, that’s for sure. The Bmw i8 rides with a tight little bounce that stays controlled, but I was avoiding potholes with those huge wheels and rubber-band tires. I think if you’re going for just efficiency you’d use something with less rolling resistance, but this is more of a hybrid sports car, not just a hybrid. The steering is tight and direct too, and those tires are a big part of that. It’s electrically boosted, but still has some road feel.
The 1.5-liter three banger sounds great, though enhanced, and makes little turbo noises on shifts; there's a six-speed automatic that powers the rears while the electric motor works with a two-speed trans and pushes the front. The combo rockets off the starting line; shifts are quick without any surge or lag. The brakes have a short stroke, which is nice, and only suffer a little from that spongy, regenerative feel that a lot of hybrids have. Overall it feels super light on the road and it should, considering the body is made from carbon fiber.
In Car review You can see that carbon fiber on the doors, which makes them easier than expected to open and close, and on a personal styling note, I’d take bare carbon fiber over almost anything else. But that’s the minimalist enthusiast in me.
Inside it's logically laid out like a normal BMW. It has rotary dial for most of the controls, a rear-view camera, a nice stereo system and the rest. The blind spots are huge with the giant back pillar, so get used to craning your neck and praying. It does have blind spot warnings though, and you’ll have to trust them.
The Bmw i8 has a supercar-like price and is extremely low on the utility quotient. You’ll have to really want it. The i3 is probably a better solution all the way around, but it’s super dorky looking, and not fast at all. And it has a teeny gas tank. This i8 has some actual range.
Oh, and getting in and out of it is a huge pain. There may be a better way, but I’ve found that backing up my rear and bending over until I hit the sill and fall in, is the best way. Feel free to correct me on that if someone finds a better way.
I'm not going to correct you, Lingeman -- this is just a matter of preference -- but I prefer to anchor my weight in the car using my right foot, then sort of tumble in under the door. It's awkward no matter what, but you are afforded a look at all that lovely carbon fiber every time, plus the neighbor kids will mow your lawn for a chance to open and close those butterfly doors.
I mentioned my affection for the i8 in an earlier back-and-forth with Graham Kozak, and time has done nothing to diminish it. BMW's little batmobile is the perfect pseudo-supercar for anyone who wants an R8 but also needs a green car for business/political/HOV lane reasons. It looks fantastic to my eyes, drives like a lightweight, firmly sprung sports coupe (though it doesn’t beat the occupants up) and features all the creature comforts and cockpit engineering of BMW's best machines.
You can look good, have fun and get 76 MPGe; yeah, it costs $150K, but if it was less it wouldn't be a supercar, would it?
The interior mostly feels like a regular BMW.
There is probably no other car that troubles me as deeply as the BMW i8. It bugs me; the fact that it bugs me bugs me. This is a profoundly unhealthy state of being. Acknowledging it, and trying to understand it, is the first step toward getting better.
In an attempt to shed the weight I carry with me always, I took the i8 for a weekend this time around. I drove it long distances at terrific speeds. I let lots of friends and neighbors ogle it and sit in it. I drove it to a pumpkin patch. I meditated on it.
I now think my i8 complex makes a little more sense.Much of what’s good here comes down to profile and seating position. Take away the overwrought flying buttresses and winglets and you get a sleek midengine wedge woven from super-rigid carbon fiber.
You sit so low that sensations of speed and directional changes are amplified. It corners very flat and very surely, which I am sure the split powertrain (motor powering the front wheels, gas engine/motor combo in the back) has something to do with. It is less capable of dealing with uneven/gravely surfaces, which seem to startle the car and cause it to cut power at strange and unexpected times.
The brakes are also inconsistent. There’s not much feel to begin with, but sometimes they seem to take a beat longer than expected to bite. Odd.
Also, I despise the fake engine note. No engine has ever sounded like this. Certainly no 1.5-liter three-cylinder has ever come close.
I don’t think I hate this car, exactly. I think what it comes down to is that I hate what it stands for, or at least what it has been made to stand for by legions of adoring fanboys. It may be an interesting science experiment, but BMW’s techo-GT is not a supercar, it isn’t particularly eco-conscious and I sincerely hope it doesn’t predict The Future.
BMW i8 rear
Extensive standard equipment includes the Navigation system Professional with proactive drive system for all-electric driving, fully-digital instrument display, BMW iDrive with freestanding Control Display and leather sports seats; choice of four exterior paint finishes and four interior equipment variants.
It’s no surprise that, despite the leather-trimmed ledges BMW calls “rear seats,” the i8 is basically useless for transporting anything other than two full-grown humans. Cargo? I fit two medium pumpkins in the car’s bucket-sized trunk; maybe count on three reusable tote bags full of ethically-sourced sustainable products, tops. Apparently, the trunk gets hot on long drives, so keep that in mind when you’re hauling foodstuffs.
I wouldn’t criticize a McLaren or an Alfa Romeo for these shortcomings; they come with the midengine goofy-door territory. But anyone who owns a racy two-door is basically guaranteed to have a fleet of more practical cars in their personal stables. This is why the idea of an “everyday exotic” kind of dumb, but also why the idea of a “green exotic” is just insulting.
“Surely this is better than buying another fuel-guzzling sports car,” you’ll say. Perhaps, but something about that argument just doesn’t sit right with me. Given the number of miles the average exotic/sports car gets driven, and the minuscule micro-fraction of the market such vehicles represent in the first place, the tailpipe emissions difference between this at an observed 33.3 mpg and a Ferrari 488 at 18 mpg combined are basically negligible.
But every little bit helps, right? Bullshit. If you actually cared an iota about the impact of consumption on the environment you wouldn’t buy another brand-new car -- let alone a flashy toy like this. Far be it from me to judge what you drive, but I will call out self-righteous hypocrisy.
Again, the car is not entirely without merit. It isn’t the first car of its kind to pack a hybrid powertrain into a carbon fiber shell, but I expect its existence will help make the tech more widespread across the BMW lineup. It isn’t boring to drive, and if nothing else, it will make any streetscape more interesting and draw the attention of just about everyone.
Yet as it stands, it feels like a rolling collection of compromises too easily excused by its looks and purported greenie credentials. It tries to be something revolutionary and new, yet bends over backwards to synthesize and simulate a conventional driving experience (the fake engine note here goes a few steps beyond the already-annoying “sound symposers”).
I would have more respect for the effort if it went all-in on electrification, even if the end result was a less-useable vehicle. It would have at least been truer to the forward-looking philosophy that seems to undergird the i-family concept.
But, as I said last time, the i8 has made me think more about the future of transportation -- both what I’d like to see and what don’t want to see on the roads of tomorrow -- and I have to give it credit for that.